Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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or Search by State

Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)



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11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue


It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"

Mail Trillian here

Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)


Alliance for the Great Lakes

Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.

Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.

Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

< chicago blogs >

Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Life(?) of Trillian

Wednesday, November 05, 2008  
Barack Obama owes me money.

My building (home) security had concerns about election night festivities getting out of hand and wanted to take the advice given by the local authorities and bring in extra security personnel for election night.

Okay, fair enough. My new ‘hood is an area plagued by vandalism and hijinks under normal circumstances, so add the celebratory element and it’s fair to assume our lone night security guard could have his hands full.

We’re a small condo association. We run a neat, organized, tight ship. But there are no frills. There is no fat in our condo association budget for extra security personnel. So. It was decided by our board that we’d all have to pay an extra $20 in our assessment fee next month to cover the cost of extra security for election night. The board and many of my neighbors felt it was a small price to pay for the safety of the residents in our building.

We have an entry door and garage door on the back side of our building. The back of our building is adjacent to an alley which is a hotbed of activity. I don’t mean athletics and neighborhood get-togethers kind of activity. We don’t even put our dumpsters back there until minutes before the trash guys arrive because a) homeless people sleep in them, b) drug dealers hide their stash in them, c) drug users throw their needles in them, and d) local youths set fire to them. (But not until they paw through them looking for stashed drugs and getting jabbed with used needles.)

Our security guard has his hands full on normal nights. So the election night increase in security was helpful for him.

As I type that out the plan for extra security sounds reasonable enough. I guess.

And there was a lot of gunfire last night. Yes, guns. That’s what “we” do here in Chicago to celebrate. New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July everyone goes out and shoots their guns into the air like Yosemite Sam.* Yes. Chicago has “illegal discharge” laws which prohibit the firing of guns “for fun” or “without a permit” in the city. And yet. When it’s time to celebrate people take out the guns and fire them into the air. In a densely populated urban area. I dunno. I can’t offer an explanation or excuse. I’m not from here. I’ve heard celebratory gunfire is culturally acceptable and expected in the Balkans, most of the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan. And Chicago. I dunno. I’m not from here. I just observe and report. And pay Mayor Daley my tithe to his regime in the form of criminally high property taxes for the privilege of living here in the land of celebratory gunfire.

And sirens blared up and down the streets around my building all night long. I heard a lot of yelling and police talking through their loud speakers. So obviously there was a lot of celebratory hinjinks going on in the ‘hood. I admit I felt “good” about having extra security guys on hand – if for no other reason than to give our regular night guy some breathing space. I like our night security guard, he’s nice and he keeps a good watch over us. The neighborhood dealers, vandals and miscreants know he has a zero tolerance policy about our building and the residents and when he's on duty they stay away. One of my neighbors told me he once stopped a mugging and held the perp in a head lock with one hand and called the cops with the other. Put it this way: If there were a real emergency he’s the guy I’d want to have around.

I guess I was relieved he'd have back-up, some extra security on duty.

Obama said he’s going to pay for everything related to his election night celebration. Well sir, let me add my $20 special assessment fee for security to his stack of election night bills to pay.


We have 40 people in my department. Two of us stayed until 4 PM on election night. We finally left because our office building security was making rounds every half hour and kept coming by and telling us to go home. Never mind that I ended up cutting short a conference call with some West coast clients.

Five of us showed up for work the day after the election. I expected some absenteeism. But not 85.5%.

We’ve been having a lot of ongoing complications with a project. I say "we" because I'm a team player, not because the complications are a result of anything I did or did not do. The client is growing ever more frustrated. They couldn’t reach anyone directly related to the project by phone yesterday afternoon (and I was on said conference call) and no replies were sent to their emails. (Said conference call involved me looking at a website and I didn’t check my email for a couple hours – I know, how dare me?! The nerve!) So I spent several phone calls and emails today trying to salve the growing wound my colleagues have created with this client. They created this mess, and now, when it’s coming to an ugly head, none of them are here to deal with it because a) Obama invited them to his party and b) they were too hungover and/or high on life to come to work the day after his election night party.

Though, on the plus side, my commute to work this morning was the best I’ve had in years – the train and bus were practically empty.

And there's a woman from another department who's been singing hymns at the top of her voice in the ladies room off and on all day. She has a nice voice and from way down the hall and around the corner it makes a sort of gospel Muzak background noise. Though it's kind of weird to go in there to use the bathroom with her wailing away about faith and Him in there with tears streaming down her face so I went to another floor to use their bathroom.

Not to be a funsapping shrew, but...who’s paying for all this loss of business? Obama said he’s going to pay for the expense of his election night party, do you think he’ll pay the bill I send him for losses resulting from my colleagues not being here because of his election night party? Is it reasonable of me to make that request? At the very least is it reasonable to ask him to reimburse us for the hours of pay my colleagues used to attend and recover from his party?

Or am I being a nitpicking hardass? Lately it's difficult for me to tell the difference. I was told the definitions of professional and responsibility and obligation vary from person to person. It was suggested that I lower my expectations of some people in our office. I didn't think my standards were very high. In fact I thought some of the problem was that my expectations weren't high enough. I thought maybe I'd created this monster by cutting too much slack and taking on responsibilities which belong to other people. I'm super easy going about absences. If you're sick, don't come to work. If you have car trouble or your kid has a problem at school, so what if you're late? Life happens. You need an extra vacation day because the air fares are cheaper if you wait a day? Fine. Yay you for finding a good deal. On the other hand, you're paid to do a specific job, and you do it as outlined in the job description. You come to work and put on your game face for the team and do the best you can. You understand that your salary and the success of the company is based on earning money from clients. We trade products and services for money. That's how business works. And everyone plays a role in that process. So. You treat your clients as if your salary depends on them. Because it does.

But my expectations of other people are too high. So. I'm confused about the line between reasonable expectation and nitpicking hardassness lately. It would be nice of my colleagues realize and remember that I covered for them when they were reveling in election night and day after hangovers. But they won't. One of my colleagues who showed up for work and I discussed this. He said, "I had to be here today. I have a site going live tomorrow. That's my excuse. Why are you here? Why aren't you absent like everyone else? You can't be upset with them because you came to work and they didn't. This is history. If you want to spend history in your office that's your business, not theirs."

See what I mean about expectations? It's all relative to your personal perspective. And apparently I'm a nitpicking hardass.

Work-related expenses aside, it seems fair to request reimbursement for the $20 I had to spend on extra security for my building. Does anyone know where I send the bill? Democratic convention headquarters? Mr. Obama's senatorial office? His personal residence?

I hate to get off on the wrong foot with Mr. Obama, but, $20 is a lot of money for me. I've had a ton of unexpected and medical expenses in the past year. My budget is already tight. And I had to pay a larger tithe to God Daley in October. (he doesn't like to raise property taxes but, heh heh, funny thing is, I moved-in to my place in April of '07. I've paid three property tax bills and they've been progressively higher with each installment. Since I'm a new homeowner I have almost nothing in escrow so I've had to cough up extra money every six months to cover the tax increase. But Daley doesn't like to increase property taxes.)

Anyone want to make it interesting and bet on whether or not I get reimbursed my $20 from Obama?

Maybe I could make an indie documentary a la Roger and Me. Barack and My $20. Or, Trillian's Big Adventure. Or, Tax, Lies and Campaign Promises. Or, Looking for Mr. Good... oh wait, no, that was Clinton. How about, Trillian and Barack Make a Deal. Or, wait, wait, I know, I know! The Lost Barack Covenant. (That's how brainstorming works. You just freely associate, go wherever the ideas and words take you and voila! Cool, huh?!) I dunno, though. I think for now the working title will stand at Barack Obama Owes Me Money. It has an air of indie simplicity and edge to it.

*Hey, wow, that’s two Yosemite Sam references in three weeks. And he’s my least favorite Looney Tune. Hmmmm. Wonder what that means?

2:03 PM

Tuesday, November 04, 2008  
Don't forget:
Election inspired playlist available.

8:45 PM

Monday, November 03, 2008  
No Electioneering You know I’m a big fan of Freedom of Speech. Any blogger should express their gratitude for freedom of speech every time they hit publish on their blog. I’ve made it my habit to say, “Thank you for the right, privilege and responsibility of the Freedom of Speech” every time I hit publish. If you think I’m kidding guess again. I’ve made it part of my conscious to be conscientious.

I know. Acknowledging Constitutional rights one day, praying to a supreme deity the next. I know. It’s a short leap to prayer. Or superstition. I’m neither religious or superstitious so I’m confident my acknowledgment of my rights won’t spread to scary places. But. Speaking of free speech, it’s nice to know that if I get religion, or superstition, I have the right to pray or de-jinx. It’s also really great to sleep soundly in the knowledge that I have the right to say I’m not religious. Or superstitious.

So. Hot on the heels of Freedom of Speech week I exercised several Constitutional rights and voted early. That was my plan all along. I cherish my right to vote, but the official polling place for my new address is, well, scary. It’s tucked in the middle of a block on a street which is so crime ridden that the city police cameras are habitually shot and disabled. It takes months for them to be repaired. Meanwhile drugs are openly sold on the sidewalk and young kids walk in packs carrying baseball bats, golf clubs and other heavy stick-like objects. A few weeks ago walking from the train I looked down the street and saw five boys carrying hockey sticks. It’s highly unlikely they were heading to a pick-up game of street hockey. So I’m not exactly keen on trotting down there at 7 in the morning to cast my vote.

It’s the first time I’ve ever had to consider if I value my right to vote enough to die (or get mugged/assaulted) for it. Would I die to cast my ballot? I hope it wouldn’t come to that. Or, at the very least, if I were considering dying for my vote I would hope that some sort of huge war had taken place and I was one of the few remaining people alive and able to vote out the war mongering dictatorial regime which started the whole situation. I’m envisioning something along the lines of a Mad Max type of situation, good, evil, violence, destruction, each day a struggle to survive, and risking life to vote is a heroic measure because the ramifications are bigger than personal fears. The entire human race, the lone chance for a safe future for the human race and the entire planet hangs in the balance of my vote. In that scenario, heck yes, of course I’d die for my vote. I mean, duh. I’m not religious but I’m not evil, selfish and stupid.

But. Would I risk my life, or, in a more likely case, would I risk being mugged or raped to cast my vote? I’ve been mugged four times in 6 years. Once I was shoved down a crowded CTA staircase, another time I was violently beaten in the process. On a Sunday afternoon in broad daylight with at least 20 people as witnesses. Once while my leg was in a cast and I was on crutches waiting at a bus stop. Pardon my cynicism. Pardon my lack of optimism. Pardon my very real understanding of what assault and battery means. Pardon my assumption that there are a lot of people who see election day as an opportunity for something other than exercising their right to vote. In my neighborhood our polling place is on a stretch of street where no one goes unless they’re selling or buying drugs or involved with a gang. When I moved in one of my neighbors warned me about it and advised me to make sure I voted by absentee ballot. Yes. It’s that bad.

So. Would I risk my life to vote? Sadly, given these circumstances, I’m not sure. I would die for my right to vote in a Mad Max type of scenario. But I’m not sure I’d die for my right to vote simply because the neighborhood crack dealer is feeling the pinch of the economy issues and is raising his prices forcing his patrons to mug and attack more people to get money to feed their habit.

I know. You’re thinking, “Sheesh. They should move that polling place. Or at the very least make sure there are more cops on patrol on election day.” I know. That’s exactly what I thought. But. Har har. We’re too logical. Too sensible. Or, rather, you are. I’ve lived under the Daley Regime long enough to know that’s not how things work in this city. Logic? Are you kidding? Democracy? Freedom? Safety? Ha! Request a meeting with the mayor and get back to me with the results.

So. I was very excited to learn we’d have early voting this year. And that we could vote at any early voting polling place. One right by my office and one very close to home, on a safer block of a safer street. (You know, one where the police cameras are not shot out as often and when they are, they are actually replaced very quickly.)

I got up early a few Saturdays ago and went to the polling place thinking I'd be first in line when they opened. I was wrong - there was a line waiting for the place to open. It wasn't horrifically long, 40 or 50 people, so I opted to wait. I figured once the polling place opened the line would move quickly.

Two hours later I left with my vote cast.

There was a lengthy delay mid-stream due to a 60 something-year-old stoner hippie (seriously) who attempted to cause a scene about how America isn't really free and the election process is a sham and we're all prisoners of the government. No, I’m not assuming because he was a hippie old enough to have protested Viet Nam and attend Woodstock that he was a stoner. He smelled, nay, reeked of pot. His eyes were red. He was obviously baked. Everyone in line just chuckled or ignored him.

He made a big show of his protest. I’m not really sure what he was attempting other than protest for the sake of protesting. His points, while at times valid, were all over the place. He seemed to be throwing out random provocative statements and waiting for a reaction.

The rest of us dutifully waited our turn in the three lines required to cast our votes. Quietly, with a little general, good natured conversation amongst us about the weather, the great turnout and the sale on spinach at the grocery across the street, we filled out our forms and waited our turns.

I was just mentally noting how impressed I was with the election workers compared to other polling places I’ve voted in Chicago when Baked Hippie Dude appeared trying to cut in line behind me. I smelled him before I heard him. I heard him before I saw him. He came in, cutting in line, muttering and mumbling something about censorship. I couldn’t quite make out what he was saying due to his slurred speech. He cut in line and approached the two guys working table on the first stop on the road to voting. “I just have some questions, I want to know if I can vote for anyone here or if this is being monopolized by the Democratic talking monkey organization."

You could see every spine in the room stiffen. It was already quiet but it was now silent.

The voting judges and election volunteers were remarkably calm and nice to him.

Interestingly (to me, anyway), two of the judges were clearly about this guy's age and based on their appearance I would wager a hefty bet they also spent a good portion of the ‘60s and '70s at protests. But they obviously decided (sold out?) that they’d be part of the process, work for change, rather than doing nothing except carrying a sign and shouting against it. Their gray hair was still longer than the average guy their age, and they still sport the beard, but the similarities in appearance end there. Where the stoner hippie dude clearly hadn’t used a brush or comb in weeks and wore the CPO jacket worn, frayed and held together with American flag patches and protest buttons he probably wore in the ‘70s, along with dirty jeans and shoes (none of which appeared to have been laundered since the ‘70s) and still sported John Lennon round wire glasses, the two guys working the election poll were clean and wearing freshly laundered clothes purchased sometime in the last decade. 40 years ago these three guys could very well have stood side-by-side at a concert, protest or whatever else college kids did for fun en masse in 1968. I suspect the two guys working the election were thinking the very same thing. They clearly wanted to cut the guy some slack. They were trying to treat him with respect.

The stoner hippie wasn’t having any of it. He was on a mission. He had some point, some issue, and he was going to make himself known. I suspect he came in there expecting to be immediately kicked out for causing a disturbance. When that didn’t happen he had to resort to lame attempts at being “threatened.”

“You’re all brainwashed! Voting early is the work of the establishment! Do you know where your votes are going? Do you know if they’ll be counted? This isn’t democracy!”

Then he just had to go and ruin it for all of us independent voters.

“The only true democracy is a government that isn’t sucking on the breast of the Democratic or Republican banks! You think you’re free? You think you have a choice? No! There is no choice. It’s Republican and Democratic lobbying and funding. They’re all in bed together. You ain’t free, you’re being held down, tied up and whipped by the establishment. You’re sadomasochists!”

Aw crap. It’s guys like him that give us a bad name.

The two election guys calmly told him that if he didn’t quiet down they’d have to ask him to leave. They asked him what they could do to help him vote. One of them used dulcet tones which I suspect came from years of listening to patients in his psychotherapy office. The more he tried to calm down the stoner hippie the more I picked up on a psychotherapist vibe. I found that comforting. Having a psychologist in the room could be helpful if the stoner guy whipped out a Viet Nam era grenade.

Stoner hippie said, “All I wanna do is vote, man. I want to know if I can vote for the Green Party in here or if this is a Democratic Convention Headquarters.”

Okay, the thing is, for three days prior there were people handing out flyers in front of the local train station which is half-block from the early voting place. The flyers said, "Early voting for Obama" in big bold letters and in smaller type it gave the address and hours for the early voting polling place. If you take the flyer literally you assume that it's early voting for Obama. Just Obama. Not general early voting. I noticed that bit of campaigning (and presuming and assuming) and while I was bothered by it, I'm not stupid and I know that polls are neutral and all votes for all candidates are welcome. However, I can understand how the wording could bother or even confuse some people. If they were handing out the flyers a few feet closer to the polling place they would be committing the crime of electioneering. I'm guessing this guy, the stoner hippie, was given one of those flyers and he took offense to it.

It was then I realized that the stoner hippie was very careful to not mention any candidate names. This guy has clearly learned how to teeter on the edge of polling place rules but not get kicked out. I took a closer look at his buttons. None of them promoted any candidate.

But. Either my looking at his jacket prompted one of the election guys to look at his jacket also, or, we both had the same thought at the same time: What do those buttons actually say?

Two of them said Green Party for Real Change in ’08.

The psychologist-esque election worker hippie said, “You have to remove those buttons. No electioneering within 200 feet of the polls.” He wasn’t mean or snotty, he was very much, “Hey man, quick, before the boss sees you, you’ll get us all in trouble.”

Oh boy.

That set off a tirade about freedom of speech. And how censorship is un-American and once you lose your freedom of speech you might as well be dead and only those who stand up for their beliefs are truly free. I’m synopsizing for the sake of time.

Okay, sure, all salient points, but not the time or the place for a 60 year old stoner hippie to make those points.

The two election worker hippies said, “Right on, brother, but we have to make sure this place is fair and free of campaigning for everyone. This is for your sake, too. Take off your buttons and then you can vote.”

I was just waiting for the stoner hippie protestor to say to them, "What happened to you, man? You used to be cool."

Then things got ugly. Another judge came over to see what was going on. She was clearly "in charge" and not the type to put up with any kind of polling place nonsense or shenanigans. She took one look at hippie guy and said, "You cannot wear any sort of campaign items within 200 feet of the polls. Please zip up your jacket or remove your buttons."

The guy started yelling that censorship is unAmerican and he'd die before surrendering to censorship and that his freedom of speech was being threatened. I kid you not, he started yelling, yelling “I’m being repressed! I’m being oppressed! I’m being repressed!”

Most of us in the room were the types to be well versed in Monty Python. And collectively we burst out laughing at him. Well. Not at him, at his “help help I’m being repressed!” pleas.

The large and in charge woman told him he had to quiet down or leave or she’d call the police.

Oh brother. Which is exactly what the two election worker hippies thought. One of them even said, “Oh no. Here we go.”

Sure enough, as if on cue, the stoner hippie went completely limp and collapsed onto the floor.

Ya know, I’ve seen documentaries on the ‘60s and ‘70s. I’ve seen film footage of riots and protests in that era. In those film clips protesters often do that when confronted by cops. I guess they know when the cops are surrounding them they’re going to have to surrender or be carried away. I guess the most self-righteous option is to be carried away. And to make it as difficult as possible. And collapsing, making yourself as much dead weight as possible, is probably the last resort tactic. But I’ve never actually seen this maneuver live, in person. It’s kind of disturbing because for a moment, there, you think the person is fainting. Or having a heart attack. Which is exactly what one woman thought happened. From across the room she yelled, “I know CPR! I know CPR!”

The two election worker hippie guys said, “He’s okay! He’s okay. Everyone stay calm, we’ve got it under control.” The thing is, everyone did stay calm. Apart from getting a laugh out of the guy no one out of the immediate area seemed to pay much attention to what was happening. Which is good.

And bad.

Good because this guy was clearly just trying to make trouble because apparently that’s what he does. It’s apparently what he’s been doing since the ‘60s. It’s his thing.

Bad because if he’d been a serious threat we could have all been in danger. Bad because, wow, someone walks into a polling place, causes a ruckus, tells us we’re all brainwashed sadomasochists and we just stand there waiting our turns to vote.

Cripes. Maybe he’s right.

The two election worker hippie guys and the large and in charge woman talked to him. The psychologist-esque guy apparently got through to him because stoner hippie dude finally stood up, took off his buttons, filled out his form, showed his id and quietly stood in line to vote.

When I left he was next in line to use a voting machine.

I went across the street to score some on-sale spinach at the grocery. When I came out of the grocery he was outside the polling place, one foot away from the electioneering warning sign, staging a one-man protest demonstration about freedom of speech, or lack thereof.

Would I die for my right to vote? Or my right to free speech? I like to think I would. And yet one stoned, aging hippie comes along and tries to shake things up and all I got was a chuckle out of him. Sure, he was laughable, but I've been thinking about him. Even in his baked brain he was passionate about his politics, his right to vote and his right to question authority. The fact that he was not being repressed, oppressed or in any way threatened aside, he still, after all these years, has fire in his belly about his freedoms. His little one man protests seem pathetic and unnecessary to us. But to him they are monumentally important.

Which is the whole point of free speech. He has the right to speak out against anything. As long as he doesn't make threats or incite illegal activity (or electioneer in a polling place), he has a right to speak his mind. He has a right to call me a brainwashed sadomasochist (assuming I don't take those to be fighting words). And I have a right to deny his allegations. I have a right to speak my mind. But I didn't. I was a good little well behaved voter and tried to mind my own business and let the election workers handle the guy. If I won't speak out against a stoned aging hippie calling me a brainwashed sadomasochist, it's fair to assume that I wouldn't die for my vote or my right to free speech. No, he wasn't worth the effort. Of course not. It wasn't worth the effort. But. Isn't that often the root cause of problems that spiral out of control? At first things seem harmless. Better to be polite and "above" it than engage and speak up for yourself. The next thing you know you have a Mad Max post-apocalyptic situation on your hands.


2:29 PM

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